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Roeth: Sustainability is good for business

Nov. 8, 2023
A recent survey highlights that more than half of business leaders have developed a climate strategy or are in the process of developing one. Many respondents said a focus on sustainability is good for business.

I was not surprised to learn more businesses are working on strategies to address climate change. A recent BMO Climate Institute Business Leaders Survey found that 32% of the 700 business leaders surveyed have developed a strategy to address climate change.

Here are some key takeaways from the survey: Nearly half of survey respondents believe climate change is already affecting their businesses, and more than 80% said it will affect their businesses in the next five years. In addition to the 32% that already have developed a climate strategy, another 35% are in the process of creating one.

This survey was across various business types and was not specific to trucking. The survey made me wonder where companies in the trucking industry are when it comes to developing strategies to address climate change. My gut tells me more than a third of them have strategies in place, but that could be wishful thinking. And do those strategies have actual tactics for the upcoming year, or is it heavy-loaded on actions in future years?

See also: Roeth: Improving efficiency can mitigate some of trucking’s top concerns

However, many of the suppliers to the trucking industry have publicly shared sustainability reports that outline climate goals and progress toward meeting those goals. And I am hearing from many fleets that RFPs now include questions about what the fleet is doing to decarbonize. And we know many fleets are already deploying alternate-fueled vehicles in their operations.

Consumer-facing brands are increasingly feeling pressure to share the steps they are taking to operate more sustainably. And publicly-traded companies are being asked to report their Scope 1 and 2 emissions with the expectation that reporting Scope 3 emissions will be next.

See also: 3 types of commercial EV customers: Which are you?

Here was another interesting thing from the survey. According to Michael Torrance, chief sustainability officer at BMO, “61% of leaders with a plan are doing it because they think it’s good for their business.”

I agree having a strategy to address climate change is good for business, and I am happy to talk to any fleet that wants to look at the steps it can take to operate more sustainably while still operating in a profitable one.

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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